Buck: Keep on fightin’ Big Blue

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS FOOTBALL - By Paul Wiecek

BUCK PIERCE had some ad­vice Fri­day night for his long- suf­fer­ing for­mer team­mates.

The B. C. Li­ons backup QB — who, of course, played in Winnipeg for three­plus sea­sons un­til be­ing traded a few weeks ago — was clearly deal­ing with some mixed feel­ings as he emerged from In­vestors Group Field Fri­day night af­ter his new team had shel­lacked his for­mer team, 53- 17.

Pierce was asked if he felt sorry for his for­mer Bombers team­mates.

“I know the strug­gle. We’ve all been there. It’s a tough time right now,” Pierce replied. “I hope they can pull them­selves up and con­tinue to fight. I know those guys in that locker- room are fight­ers and I want them to look at each other in that locker- room and just con­tinue to fight.”

The Bombers gam­bled Fri­day they’d fi­nally be able to get a run­ning game go­ing if they went with three Amer­i­can of­fen­sive line­men — a rar­ity at a po­si­tion usu­ally played by Cana­di­ans.

So how’d that turn out? Well, Winnipeg mus­tered 19 yards on the ground in the first half with Amer­i­cans Glenn Jan­uary, Dan Knapp and Jarvis Jones join­ing Cana­di­ans Justin Soren­son and Chris Greaves on the O- line.

Knapp sat out the sec­ond half with an in­jury and was re­placed by Cana­dian Chris Kowal­czuk, but the pic­ture looked the same — Winnipeg added 13 more yards on the ground in the sec­ond half and fin­ished the game with a laugh­able 32 to­tal rush­ing yards.

“Ob­vi­ously, af­ter our of­fen­sive per­for­mance tonight, there’s nowhere to go but up,” said Jan­uary.

“I’ve got pride and it sucks los­ing like that,” said Soren­son. “I gave my all out there. I gave a 100 per cent and this just sucks. I don’t know what else to say — no one likes be­ing bot­tom of the bar­rel, right?”

Lost a bit in the lop­sided score of a game in which B. C. dom­i­nated from the first play from scrim­mage was the fact the Bombers de­fence played rea­son­ably well, yield­ing just 202 yards to­tal pass­ing, while forc­ing two turnovers and sack­ing Leo quar­ter­backs three times.

While some of that must be tem­pered by the fact in­jured starter Travis Lu­lay did not play, it’s at least a small sil­ver lin­ing on a night when noth­ing else went right for Winnipeg.

“Our de­fence played pretty de­cent through­out the whole game,” said line­backer Ian Wild. “We were put in tough spots a lot through­out the whole game. And I think that’s what showed up on the score­board.

“But over­all, I thought we did a pretty de­cent job against the B. C. of­fence. We forced a lot of two- and- outs and over­all, played pretty con­sis­tently.”

The Bombers have now lost 10 of their last 11 and take a three- game los­ing streak into McMa­hon Sta­dium, where Winnipeg hasn’t won since 2002 and where Cal­gary has won 11 of their last 12 reg­u­lar- sea­son games.

On the plus side, the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers — and their al­ways de­light­ful fans — will now have to wres­tle with the fact they are the only team in the CFL not to win at In­vestors Group Field in 2013.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Winnipeg’s Jade Eti­enne gazes into obliv­ion on the side­lines as the Bombers are oblit­er­ated Fri­day night by the B. C. Li­ons.

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